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Center for the Performing Arts Continues Candy Wrapper Recycling

by on March 09, 2014 11:45 AM
The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State will continue its candy wrapper collection through the spring semester thanks to a partnership with the UPS Store on Colonnade Way in State College.

The center had, for three years, participated in the Candy Wrapper Brigade, a TerraCycle program that provided free waste collection for hard-to-recycle materials. The program also awarded points, redeemable for charitable giving, for each wrapper collected and covered the cost of shipping the wrappers to be recycled.

“Late last fall, we were notified that TerraCycle had lost its corporate sponsor for the Candy Wrapper Brigade and would have to discontinue points for charitable purposes and shipping stipends,” said Shannon Bishop, the chair of the Center for the Performing Arts Green Team. “The company said it would, however, continue to recycle collected wrappers.”

“We didn’t want to abruptly end our program and disappoint our friends, but we didn’t have funds to cover the shipping costs either,” Bishop said. “That’s when we approached the management at the UPS Store for help ... And they agreed to cover the cost of shipping for us for the spring semester. That will give us a chance to continue recycling the wrappers and to reevaluate the program.”

The candy wrappers come in part from concession sales in the lobby of Eisenhower Auditorium but also from individuals, churches and schools in Centre and surrounding counties. In 2011–12, more than 6,400 wrappers were redeemed to provide clean drinking water to people in developing countries. In 2012–13, meals were provided to Americans in need.

This season, proceeds are being used to help provide homeless, runaway and at-risk children with school supplies to pursue their studies and for the National Wildlife Federation Adopt-a-Wildlife-Acre program. With the points redeemed from candy wrappers collected in summer and fall, the center was able to supply 81 students with supplies and help protect 2,664 square feet of wildlife land.

“We wanted folks who have been participating in the program to know a part of our incentive has now changed,” Bishop said. “But we hope they continue to do the right thing for the environment and to help us continue the recycling initiative this semester.”

Each year millions of candy wrappers are needlessly thrown away and most end up in landfills. The center will continue accepting candy wrappers through May 15. The ultimate fate of the local program, lacking a new TerraCycle corporate sponsor, has not been determined. In the three years since the center began its program, more than 30,000 wrappers have been sent to TerraCycle and kept out of landfills.

Patrons attending events at Eisenhower Auditorium may place used candy wrappers in lobby collection boxes. Eligible waste — from auditorium concession sales or from home or office use — includes individual candy wrappers, large candy bags and multi-pack candy bags.

Candy wrappers and bags may also be dropped off at Eisenhower during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays or at the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (146 S. Allen St., State College), 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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